S.C. Court reverses ruling on rooftop bar at The Dewberry hotel

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- The South Carolina Court of Appeals has reversed a 2017 ruling that said a popular Downtown hotel could operate a rooftop bar.

On October 20, the S.C. court sided with the City of Charleston in its attempt to block The Dewberry from operating a bar on its eighth floor. The latest decision said that the City’s zoning ordinances did prohibit The Dewberry from adding new uses to the building without first obtaining the proper approval from the Board of Zoning.

This decision comes four years after a circuit court judge ruled that the Zoning Board had made an error when it denied the hotel’s request to build a rooftop bar. The Zoning Board denied that request on the basis of noise restrictions they had placed on the hotel in 2011.

The Court of Appeals stated in its decision:

“We find Dewberry knew or should have known from the ordinances that it was required to submit an application for an amendment to the 2011 special exception. It could not rely on the building division’s approval of its plans or on the building inspector’s failure to stop the construction to justify its decision to proceed with the construction without first submitting the application to the BZA.”

“Preserving the character of our residential neighborhoods is a critical component of our citizens’ quality of life, and this decision clearly reaffirms the BZA’s role in that process,” said city spokesman Jack O’Toole. “We appreciate the court’s carefully considered ruling in this case.”

Kristie Rasheed, general manager of The Dewberry, said the hotel has been operating “responsibly” since its opening in 2016.

“In the more than three years of operating Citrus Club and the Rivers Room, there has not been a single noise complaint made to the hotel or the city that was reported to us, demonstrating the hotel has run the Citrus Club and Rivers Room without blemish,” she said. “We are saddened and exhausted by these abhorrent legal machinations and simply desire to be left alone to serve up, in large doses, our unique blend of Southern Reimagined ™ to all our patrons, Charlestonians, and beyond.”

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